Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo
Those of us who recall the zoo as it was in decades past have precious memories of those visits, of time spent strolling and picnicking with our families. Some of those family members may be gone or grown while the zoo itself has changed profoundly. There are only a few places left along the zoo’s pathways where views remain unchanged from long ago.
The zoo has changed in many important ways besides appearance. It has grown into a center for environmental education. Standards for animal care have risen dramatically. High-tech biological techniques are used to study wildlife and combat extinction all over the world. Zoo professionals now come here from other cities and countries to see how a zoo should be managed.
In 1887, a wealthy lumber mill owner and real estate developer named Guy C. Phinney paid $10,000 for 342 acres of land along what we now call Phinney Ridge and down the slope to Green Lake. He kept 180 acres for himself and spent $40,000 constructing an elegant English-style estate, complete with formal gardens. He named it "Woodland Park." There was a conservatory, promenade, hunting lodge, the "Woodlands Hotel," and even a menagerie. The animal collection featured North American animals like black bear and deer, but there were African ostriches as well. The upper portion, where the zoo is today, was almost completely cleared of trees. A winding road led down to the lake's edge through the more forested portion of the estate. Phinney generously opened his estate to the public as long as they obeyed his conspicuously posted rules. He permitted no foul language, firearms or dogs (which would be "shot on sight," stated the rules). Living things, plants and animals alike, were protected from abuse of any kind.
Today, Woodland Park Zoo is a leading zoo in the United States. Animals are in natural habitats, not the old small cages, to be viewed behind wire. Your visit will not only thrill but enlighten you about the animals and their preservation and the preservation of their habitats. This is an experience to be enjoyed by all generations of the family.
Pictures and information of were provided by the Woodland Park Zoo
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